Google+ Followers

Friday, October 28, 2011

Classroom Summary for October 24-28

Here's what we did this week...

At Number Corner we continued to review our time-telling skills, number equations and coins. We have been using the place value straw chart to demonstrate how numbers can be made up of tens and ones. As of Wednesday, our number of days in school was 37. We displayed that number on our place value chart as 3 groups of ten straws and 7 "ones" straws.

At Fundations time, we have learned several new reading/spelling skills. We learned about three different types of suffixes. One type (-s, -es) changes a base word to mean more than one. We cannot always just add "s". In some cases, when a base word ends in -ch, -sh, -ss, or -x, we need to add the suffix -es. We looked at the word "dress" as an example. If we didn't use the special -es suffix, the word dresses would look like this: dresss! The second type of suffix we learned about is the type that tells us when an action took place (-ing, -ed). If you take the word "walk" as an example, you can add the suffix -ing and you know that "walking" means you are taking a walk right now. But if you use the suffix -ed, then you know that you "walked" in the past. The third type of suffix we worked with this week was the type that helps us compare an item to another. For instance, we acted out the base word "silly". One person showed us what "silly" would look like, another classmate showed us what "sillier" looked like and a third classmate showed us what "silliest" was like. We had fun using the suffixes -er and -est! This week we also learned several new vowel teams: oo, ew, ou, and ue. One of the reasons why learning the English language is so difficult is because we have so many different spellings for the same vowel sound! We know that if we're reading a word with any of those vowel teams, we will read the sound as /oo/. But we also know that if we're trying to sound out a word to spell, we might need to try four different ways to spell the word with the sound /oo/ before we find the right one!

In Miss Varrell's reading group, the class worked on making connections with stories that were read aloud and read independently. We used sticky notes to mark the places in our books where we made connections and observations and later in the week we used our response journals to record those connections. When we make reading connections to our own lives, we are using a very important critical thinking comprehension strategy. We aren't just "receiving" information, but we are collecting, comparing, analyzing and synthesizing it to see how it relates to our prior knowledge and experiences. Being able to read with critical thinking is a complex task that takes time and practice. We are making good progress with this very important skill!

In math we finished our first unit in our Investigations books. We will continue to practice our number and problem-solving skills throughout the year. We also spent some time working with patterns this week. We tried working with a border pattern to see how it evolves differently from a growing pattern. A border pattern is a pattern that occurs only around the perimeter of an object. We practiced making border patterns with color tiles and then we used what we learned to make candy dish placemats for Halloween! Next week we will begin our second Investigations unit which focuses on geometry and geometric concepts. If you have a square or rectangular compact mirror at home, it will be a  useful tool to practice some of our math skills over the next few weeks. Don't forget to keep practicing your math facts, coins and time-telling skills at home too!

In writing, we have been focused on adding details to our sentences (using sight and sound words) and using lists to help us create writing ideas. We are continuing to build our stamina for writing by increasing our independent writing time from 10 to 15 minutes. When we write independently, we are responsible for writing down our ideas and not getting bogged down in "how to spell" words that we write. Miss Varrell has explained that as we learn the different stages of writing, fixing our spelling mistakes will come near the end of the writing process, not at the beginning. Think of writing a story like baking a cake. You don't worry about measuring your ingredients until after you've collected all your supplies and have them all set out on the counter. Once you have all the ingredients and tools you need for your recipe, then you can bake your cake!

In Social Studies, we learned two songs to help us remember the seven continents and the four major oceans. We also saw a video about models and maps that helped explain the difference between a map and a globe. After we watched the video we made maps of our bedrooms at home. To practice our understanding of cardinal directions, we played a game called "North South East West." We also illustrated and labeled a map of the world including the seven continents and the major oceans. We will continue to work with map skills next week.

Parent F.Y.I.

  • We will be having a seasonal celebration on Monday. As per the new food protocols in classrooms, all food that will be present for our celebration has been approved by the main office and our school nurse.
  • Halloween is the ultimate fun holiday for children! However, to preserve some focus and minimize sugar crashes during the day, I would like to suggest that a maximum of two pieces of Halloween candy be sent to school with your child's lunch (thank you for honoring our allergy-free classroom snack time) after Halloween. Your cooperation and understanding is greatly appreciated! 
  • Clocks change back to standard time on Sunday, November 6.
  • With the advent of the winter season, it is strongly recommended that you clearly mark your child's outerwear and accessories with his/her name. We will soon be using winter coats, hats, scarves and mittens and many items get lost, misplaced or mistaken for a similar item of clothing. Including a label in your child's clothing makes it easier to return items to their proper owner.
  • The gerbils will be available for a long weekend visit over Veterans' Day weekend. If your family is interested in hosting them, please send a note to school with your child. Gerbils would be available to take home Wednesday, November 9 to be returned Monday, November 14. All supplies will be furnished, but car transportation is required. 

1 comment:

  1. Hi,
    I'm visiting your blog because you left a comment at LinkedIn about the free online stories link I shared.
    What a nice blog. The details of your classroom teaching is helpful to both parents of students in your class and teachers who stop by.
    Alexander and The Terrible Horrible No Good Very Bad Day is available at the Barnes and Noble site I shared in the article. My eight year old twins watched it last night.